Ford: Longterm 2014 Ranger Wildtrak blog

Ford: Longterm 2014 Ranger Wildtrak blog

This time last year the Auto Media Group office was lucky enough to have Holden’s plug-in Volt in residence for a couple of months. Our longterm(ish) car this summer is a little more market-relevant

For a month across the December/January period we will be putting the 2014 Ford Ranger Wildtrak, seen here in Chilli Orange, to the test.

The flagship of the Ranger line-up retails from $67,140 in automatic form, as tested or $65,140 with a manual transmission. Both have shift -on-the-fly 4×4 capability as well as low range for heavy-duty off-road work.

It is loaded with such niceties as leatherette (i.e. fake but convincing) seats, heated up front, and electrically controlled for the driver, dual zone climate control, Ford’s Sync system with voice control and satellite navigation, 18-inch alloy wheels, a sports bar, roof rails, lockable sliding hardcover for the tray and extensive safety equipment list.

It carries a 5-Star ANCAP rating of course.

Despite being the flash-harry of the range, it still has work credentials. a 147kW, 370Nm 3.2-litre 5-cylinder turbo diesel gives a 950kg payload, and it will tow 3500kg as well as wade through water up to 800mm deep (just don’t open the doors while your doing this!).

Early impressions? Other than the fact that previous users have not been that nice to this particular test car, we are so far impressed.

The Ranger remains the most car-like drive of the ute market, with direct steering and a relatively well-damped drive – even when its unladen.

The Wildtrak does suffer a little from the typical leaf-sprung ute bounce in the rear, but not as badly as a Toyota Hilux.

The 5-pot engine is a little raucous at times but gives a great slug of torque to get off the line. A friend who drives a European diesel SUV noted how effortlessly the Ranger gets away from standstill.

We have only just got our hands on the Wildtrak so there is plenty more to learn. We will report back in coming weeks on other aspects – economy, more on-road experience, and how it is to live with, and what will likely be, by years end, New Zealand’s most popular new light commercial vehicle.

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